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Re: Flourite's best deal around

Dustin Swansown wrote:
"James, I think Flourite is a mined product.  Mined like laterite, not
man-made like profile.  I'm just trying to help prevent a lawsuit against
you. :)"

Thanks Dustin (for wanting to keep me out of legal difficulties).

As far as I can tell...(and here I hope that Dr. Greg Morin from Seachem
will jump in and correct any mistakes I might make).... products like
Flourite and Profile are best thought of as "kissing cousins" - they are in
the same family but have different parents. The clay and mineral bases from
which each product is made may be slightly different (I get this from Jamie
Johnson's analysis of them as published last year in Planted Aquaria
Magazine) and their final form factor (particle size, density and color)
differs as well, but they are still close enough to infer that they are made
in pretty much the same way. There may be minor variations in the
manufacturing process used in each case, but there are probably more
similarities than there are differences.

Way back in March, 2000 I posted the following to the APD. The source for
the quote was Profile Products LLC (http://www.profileproducts.com/):

"Profile: "PROFILE is a true porous ceramic product engineered to solve and
prevent soil problems. The base mineral is illite clay and amorphous silica.
The mineral is processed using a computer controlled kiln, which permanently
changes the base minerals to a stable porous ceramic particle. The PROFILE
Porous Ceramic particle has 74% pore space with 1/2 capillary (water
holding) and 1/2 non capillary (air and drainage) pores. The base mineral is
what provides PROFILE with a CEC of 33 meq/100g and excellent porosity."

The "processing" involved is limited to the firing (heating in a kiln),
crushing, screening and grading the product. I strongly suspect that
Flourite is made in a similar fashion, using a slightly different base clay.
Obviously, from looking at a bag of Flourite, there may be several different
"base clays" used or there may be some coloring agents introduced somewhere,
because there is a very attractive range of colors (browns, tans, reds and
golds) in Flourite which is totally absent in Profile (uniforn tan brown).
So in effect, they are both "manufactured".

But because they are designed for different markets, there are major
differences between them when considering their use in an aquarium. When you
consider the particle density, particle size range, shape and especially
colour, Flourite rises like cream on the top of a container of milk. In over
30 years as a hobbyist, I have yet to encounter a substrate material that so
perfectly meets our needs as aquarists for an attractive, natural base upon
which to build an aquatic environment. I have several tanks set up with
Shultz Clay Soil Conditioner (Profile under another name) and several using
Flourite. They each have their place, but in any tank where "looks" matter,
or where I want to use strong water current (even the outflow from an
Aquaclear filter can disturb Profile), the Flourite is the clear winner.

I was very interested to read of Tom's recent success using Seachem's newer
substrate material Onyx, another "fracted clay" aquarium substrate that
extends the color palette options available to us. The wonderful folks at
Seachem recently sent me some to try and I'm looking forward to seeing how
it will do in a side by side comparison to Flourite.

James Purchase